May 5, 2013 at 6:43 pm #1302592
I have three races this year that will involve lots of very rocky/talus conditions- I ran one of them last year in Montrail Sabino Trails and they were adequately beefy and padded; but while the toe box was roomy they were a little loose in the heel and mid-foot I've tried the Mtn Masochists and they are a no go- not enough room in the toe box for me
I'm currently running in Brooks PureGrits 2's and we've been getting along handsomely, but these are definitely not the shoe for really harsh/rocky conditions
whatever shoe I go w/ will have to have a roomy toe box (my toes are looooong!), I'd prefer a lower offset, but could live w/ a higher one if the shoe fit well and was beefy enough
TIAMay 5, 2013 at 6:46 pm #1983567
I love my Altra Lone Peaks for those type of conditions. With some Dirt Girl gaiters.May 5, 2013 at 7:23 pm #1983581
deletedMay 5, 2013 at 7:34 pm #1983584
Mike – I like a snug fitting heal in my shoes.
one way I accomplish this is the way I lace them.
do you use that second upper lace hole that is on "most" trail runners?
simply run the lace tip thru this very last hole the reverse way from the other holes then take the lace from the oposite side and run it thru the small loop that was formed, then cinch the laces up.
I find this typically locks my heal into the heal cup just fine.
another way to tighten up the heal and mid foot, which I have used a few times, is to take a second pare of socks, cut the front third (or front half) off so your toe box doesn't get to tight, them pull them onto your foot and carefully pull your regular socks over them. if you are careful how you put them on they work wonders to snug up the back half of the shoe. you may want to do this with a fairly thin pair of socks so you don't snug up too much.
if that doesn't satisfy you, there are always the Cascadias which are plenty beefy, but they do have a bit of lateral instability for me.
a really nice, light, low to the ground shoe, with a rock plate are the Pearl Izumi Peak II. I love them for shorter runs … meaning up to 25 miles or so.May 5, 2013 at 7:51 pm #1983590
hadn't thought about the Altras- I've heard they have a nice roomy toe box, I got to see them in person when we ran the GC last spring- they looked a little light for rough stuff (looked perfect for the GC though), but looks can be deceiving
I've heard good things from folks using La Sportiva, but didn't know how the room was in the toe box- good to hear, I'll see if I can find a pair to try on (heading to the "big" city next week)
Art- I haven't used that hole in any of my shoes, but I'll give that a go Like the idea on the sock, never would have thought of that, but makes perfect sense
heard good things on the Cascadia as well, I'll see if I can find pair to try on
MikeMay 5, 2013 at 8:29 pm #1983600
The lacing style that Art mentions is how Inov8s come and I swear that little difference is what makes their shoes lock my heel in place so much better than any other shoe (The rest of the shoe fits me well so I haven't needed to try other companies since).
This page has some diagrams to elaborate and some alternatives:May 5, 2013 at 8:54 pm #1983609
@eugeneiusLocale: Nuevo Mexico
Good to hear from you. (*Would one of these races happen to be The Rut 50k!?)
I'll chime in a bit, because I feel like kicking the subject of shoes around a few. It's been a while!
La Sportiva X-Countrys (**discontinued now, but the Anakonda is the nearly identical replacement) are very flexible and nimble with gobs of traction on just about every surface. These have been my default shoe for the shorter technical climbing runs recently and might do the trick for some of your upcoming runs. I did a 9 mile run in them last week with some really techy rocky sections and a short stretch of mixed surface (jeep road) at the end. I haven't run in a shoe as confidence inspiring as these for loose trail conditions, but the lack of midsole cushion really limits the distance these maintain comfort (13 miles is about my limit!). The forefoot room in these is adequate but not generous. I'd say they're medium volume and hug the foot appropriately, considering the shoes intended purpose. The lack of upper overlays keeps them from constricting the forefoot, so there is room for your feet to move around, but the fit is lightyears away from sloppy.
The La Sportiva C-Lite 2.0 could be a solid option for your races, merging much of the original C-Lite protection and cushion with the lightweight/nimble nature of the Anakonda/X-Country.
You're absolutely right regarding rocky/talus/scree underfoot conditions. Mountain running wasn't really they're intended purpose. You can stumble your way through rough sections due to the large contact patch of the outsole and the ample cushioning, but it can be a sketchy ride negotiating techy bits in these cruisers. If conditions get wet and muddy, particularly slick granite…..fahgettaboudit! I was slipping all over the place last year at the R2R2R.
I'm wrapping up my fourth pair of the gen 1 Pure Grits and I'm overall pretty stoked on that shoe as a door to trail shoe, but the outsole is the achilles heel. I've read the Pure Grit 2 has a considerably better outsole pattern, but the compound Brooks is using is still pretty anemic.
Some other options for you to consider:
Trailroc 255 (*read Tom Caughlan's review at iRunfar.com)
Pearl Izumi Trail N1 (*I only have 3 runs in these so far, but I'm pretty stoked on these right now) The outsole isn't overly aggressive but handles our dry rocky trails considerably well, much better than the Pure Grits.May 5, 2013 at 10:25 pm #1983631
@detroittigerfanLocale: Ann Arbor
Have to tried the Montrail Bajadas?
I hesitated responding to this because, while I loved the shoe, I did manage to break my ankle in them earlier this month in the Grand Canyon on exactly the kind of conditions you describe (Redwall descent on the Tanner Trail.) But I really don't think it was the fault of the shoe in my case and, right up to when it happened, I was feeling great in them.
I've worn Masochists before and the Bajadas have a wider toe box, which I prefer. I also think the sole is stickier, similar to the LaSportiva Wildcat soles.May 6, 2013 at 12:04 am #1983644
I don't post here a lot, lots of reading, not too involved in writing as of yet – but I have the Bajadas and have been testing them out quite a lot in the last couple of months so I thought I'd share my personal findings (with emphasis on personal).
Just for reference, I've been doing treks of 25~35Km per day twice a week, yesterday did a 54Km with a bit over 5000 meter accumulated height difference. Most of the trails were a mix of forrest and rocky ridges (in Japan the trails often follow the ridges).
For me/my feet, the Bajadas are the best fitting shoe I have ever hiked in. The heel is really nice and secure, and the toebox is roomy, giving me enough space to never feel cramped in the front. I lace down pretty tight in the front, normal in the mid section and a bit more loose on top. This way the Bajada's stay securely on my foot, no friction anywhere, without feeling constricted. I have not had any blister or hot spot anywhere, a first for me when doing these distances.
Why I reply is I have serious raw/bruised soles after doing more than 35Km on the rocky trails. Perhaps that is to be expected but it is definitely more pronounced than other light hiking shoes I have tried. If this shoe had a rock plate I would buy 10 pairs right now. I tried myog some rock plates but without success yet.
I have wondered about other people's experiences.
If your soles stand up better against rocks, or your trail conditions are different I think it's a very good shoe to try. But since you specifically mention rocky trails, I'm not sure.
Will follow this thread with interest.
Cheers..May 6, 2013 at 6:44 am #1983682
thanks gents for all the input!
Eugene- yup, I'm signed up for the Rut Run- wasn't thinking clearly at the time :) You should consider it- I'm pretty sure I can come up w/ a place stay relatively close by
short video clip
I've got the Grit 2's and can't compare them to the 1's, but the grip while decent isn't anything to write home about, definitely an area they could be improved
the 255 is on my list, I've always wrote Inov-8 off as they tended to run narrow, the 255 is on their new anatomical last which supposedly has a much roomier toe box
I looked at the Bajada, but visiting w/ Montrail they thought it might be a little tight in the forefoot- I read a couple of reviews that echoed this- I never have tried a pair on though to say for sure
I'm leaning a little towards the 255 or the Saucony Xodus as both of these shoes have mild drops (6 and 4mm)- the Grits feel very nimble and I think at least in part is due to the mild drop- could be in my head :)
never considered Pearl Izumis- not sure why, looks like they have a pretty beefy shoe in the Syncro Fuel
I guess it's better to have lots of choices :)May 6, 2013 at 7:32 am #1983693
While you're at it check out the Sportiva Helios. 4mm drop, 230g, very wide toe box, excellent rock plate & good cushion for such a light shoe. I've also found them to be exceptionally durable, since they are using a harder (not as sticky) outsole rubber than many of the Sportiva models (e.g., VK).May 6, 2013 at 7:42 am #1983695
I have tried both the Syncro Fuel I and Syncro Fuel II (not much change between them).
I really wanted to like them because they fit my feet perfectly.
However, once on the trail the story changed a bit for me.
They are made with a somewhat soft cushiony rubber (like the Grits?) This by itself is ok if you prefer a softer ride.
But then it also has a very hard plastic mid foot/arch support structure. When I run rocky technical trail I sink into the soft rubber and my foot bones get bruised a bit by the hard plastic.
The uppers are also not as firm and supportive as I like for technical trail, meaning my foot moves from side to side too much.
I have relegated these shoes to my smooth fire road and my occassional road runs.
In my view it is really a road shoe trying to pretend its a trail shoe.
Since we're on Pearl Izumi …
Once again I'll put in 2 cents for the " Peak II "
its a well made shoe.
I wore them at our recent Joshua Tree run.
Low to the ground.
Light weight by my standards (285g per shoe).
they hold the foot in very nicely.
a somewhat firm ride.
supposedly the drop is 8-10 mm but it runs like a much lower drop shoe because its so low to the ground.
I am generally a mid foot striker but for some reason I ran more on my toes with these shoes than any model I have ever worn. There is some good firm rubber on the heal but these shoes are not intended for heal strikers.May 6, 2013 at 8:49 am #1983712
Mike – I just focused on the words talus and scree …
you may actually want a sticky rubber approach shoe over a general trail runner, depending on the overall course.
La Sportiva makes some really great approach type shoes, but yes, they run narrow.May 6, 2013 at 2:14 pm #1983818
@andrew-fLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
Check out the Scarpa Sparks. Low drop (6mm?), rock plate, light weight (mine are roughly 11oz/pair), quick drying. The rubber is not as sticky as Frixion XF, but is better than most other brands. A little stickier than Inov8's endurance rubber by my estimation. I wore them on the high route and they offer plenty of underfoot protection for pointy rocks and talus but they are still light and agile.
Edit: I forgot to mention, they have the roomiest toe box of any shoe I've tried other than Altra Lone Peaks.May 6, 2013 at 3:58 pm #1983859
dang- you guys are making this tough! :)
I visited w/ La Sportiva today as I'm totally unfamiliar w/ their lineup, I explained what I was looking for and they recommended two shoes the Helios and their new Anakonda- both are sturdy, both have a 4mm drop- the Anakonda has a little more formidable outsole, but is less padded than the Helios (Helios has a higher stack height), both are built on their Tempo 2 last which is their roomiest last. He said the C-Lites and Vertical K's were built on a narrower last and probably wouldn't work for me
Art- I'll look into the Peak II's as well
Tom- thanks- I'll add the Scarpa (another brand I hadn't even considered) Sparks to the growing list- roomy toe box is what I want to hear :)
MikeMay 6, 2013 at 7:56 pm #1983936
@andrew-fLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
Sportiva is awesome- I wear their climbing shoes exclusively. The XF rubber is good stuff, second only to 5.10 Stealth rubber for grip. The XF + big lugs on the XCountry (now Anakonda) make for some awesome traction (I've climbed V4 in them.) That being said, there's no way I could wear them on any prolonged rocky terrain- I bruised the arch of my foot wearing XCountries on a sub-5 mile hike on hard packed gravel. Maybe the Anakonda is better now that it has a rock plate.May 6, 2013 at 9:34 pm #1983959
@sgiachettiLocale: Boulder, CO
You might want to check out the merrell mix master tuff's as well. Wide toe box, pretty close heel and good ground protection. A little stiff at first, but they break in well. Good for long days. Also they run a bit loose, so you might want to size down.
My surprise favorite shoe from last year was the vert K. My only complaint was the tight forefoot fit and lack of protection which the helios has addressed. The vert K excelled for off trail and light mountaineering work. The morpho sole makes for a nimble and grippy feel on talus and boulder fields. It made this particularly long talus field in indian peaks quite a bit of fun, and made me wonder why people complain about these sorts of things.
If its not too dizzy making: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBPdK5EO0_8
runningwarehouse.com is a good way to get this sort of running shoe calculus figured out. They've got most of the above shoes, Free 2-day shipping, free returns and up to 3 months returns on used shoes that don't work out (so long as you don't abuse the policy.) They've got this cool virtual shoe fitter widget that lets you compare the fit of your current shoes to their options. Good luck and enjoy the races!May 8, 2013 at 3:22 pm #1984536
@brendansLocale: Fruita CO
Eugene, are you using the x countries or the Anakondas? I hadn't seen the Anakondas; they look really good. I've been eyeing the new Roclite 243s and the Anakondas look quite similar and would probably last longer. My only hesitation is the sportiva lugs look like they might have a bit less surface area for stuff like slab climbing/desert use and the heel counter looks pretty stiff. Thoughts?May 8, 2013 at 3:35 pm #1984540
I've used the X Countrys and the Anakondas. They are similar, but the Anakonda does feel generally stiffer. I've had some rubbing issues on my heel with the Anakondas that I never experienced with the XCs. The outsole is the same. The rubber is very sticky, and I know people who use the XCs to scramble lower 5th class. There is a slightly disconcerting feeling that the big outsole lugs are peeling off the rock when scrambling. I think it takes a little getting used to. If you want something for hiking and scrambling I might go with the Xplorers – they have the best rubber & I do use them for up to around 5.4. The Raptors are also very good, and more of a real running shoe (Xplorers are kind of an approach shoe). Xplorer and Raptors are heavier than the Anakondas, something like 12oz vs. 10.May 8, 2013 at 4:57 pm #1984586
@brendansLocale: Fruita CO
Good info, Peter. Primary use is backpacking, usually longish miles, off trail, often with canyon entries/exits up to short lower 5th class. I've been using trailroc 245/255 with mixed success. I like them okay for more mild stuff but the fit's a bit sloppy for more technical terrain and they 255s aren't nearly as flexible as I'd like. 285s have probably been the closest to perfect for me if they didn't have such a pointy toe (hence my interest in the 243s).
My only experience w/ LS was a pair of Fireblades years back. The fit didn't work very well for me, but the durability was the best of any shoe I've ever used.
Mike, the 255s might work well for what you describe. Like I said, the fit's a bit sloppy on me when the goin gets tough but I have narrow feet. Lots of protection, both underfoot and in the uppers. Probably the most durable Inov8s I've used. Traction is good on loose stuff.May 8, 2013 at 5:13 pm #1984590
Sportiva Vertical K is another option for your desert stuff Brenden. Buzz wore them for our Maze / Happy / SMBC loop and found that sand stayed out of them very well. They won't be as durable as some. But at 200g it's hard to find a lighter shoe. Same Sportiva sticky rubber.
I do some product testing for Sportiva. But, NFI.May 10, 2013 at 12:21 pm #1985129
short update- tried several shoes thus far- tried Cascadias in 9.5 and size 10, the 9.5 were too cramped in the toes, the 10's had decent toe room, but even tied as Art suggested the heel was slipping; tried Exodus's in 9.5 and 10- exact same thing, 10's felt good, but too loose in the heel- they did feel better than the Cascadias w/ the lower drop however- the outsole is very aggressive and beefy (made by Vibrahm)- they had me try on some Peregrines- these definitely don't work for me- the toe box is very tapered
tried Pearl Izumi N1's they felt very good, toe box room was great, felt snug in the heel/mid-foot- low stack height felt good- very similar to the PureGrits, very breathable- outsoles not very aggressive, but maybe aggressive enough- low drop as well
they had the new Lone Peaks (1.5)- these felt very good as well- the shape of the toe box is exactly what my toes looks like- a box :)
I'm hoping to find some La Sportivas to try this afternoon, no one carries Inov-8 in MIssoula, but there is a place in Bozeman on the way back that I might get to try a pair there
edit- no one had either the Helios or Anakonda- REI had the Wildcat, which fit well in a size 10, looked plenty beefy w/ an aggressive outsole- the drop is 12mm which I'd prefer to keep lower if possibleMay 17, 2013 at 7:04 am #1987013
REI is having a sale, so I ordered a pair of Sportiva Helios's- figured if they didn't work I can send them back at any time and then try another pair, probably the N1's if the Helios's don't work outMay 17, 2013 at 7:31 am #1987020
I love mine, and have just ordered a replacement pair. I have about 4-500miles on them, including a 50k and a 100k. The 100 included a fair bit of granite stones and rocks underfoot. My only blisters either run were the ends of my 2nd toes (Mortons) I always thought my Salomon XAs were good, but the 255 is a whole other shoe.
Lots of toe box room. No real heel counter. Good, low profile cushioning with a rock plate. No problems with the grip at all, wet or dry, although I have almost worn down the tread under the ball of the foot. FWIW I'm a significant over pronator, 63kg, 175cm. Mid to heel striker.
The downside for me is that the mesh isn't good for keeping out fine sand, and I find that they take a while to drain/dry.
Cheers, RodMay 17, 2013 at 8:48 am #1987037
I want shoes for hiking with midweight pack for a family trip this summer. (me at 185 + pack at 30 pounds) We will be hiking a popular 211 mile trail, which is well maintained but often quite rocky. The last time I did the same trail I had Montrail Continental Divides and wanted more rock protection under my forefoot. I switched to Montrail Hardrocks and they protect a lot better, but they are hotter and the sole is very thick and clunky at the back. I've gone through three pair of the Hardrocks over the last couple years.
My goal is a shoe that has similar forefoot protection to the Hardrock, but with a lower heel-toe drop and cooler upper. Checking the selection at my favorite discount retailer I narrowed it down to the Montrail Mountain Masochists or Innov-8 Flyroc 310. I ordered both but can't decide which to keep. The Flyroc 310 has much less drop and is lighter, but I'm not sure it will provide the forefoot rock protection. Masochist seems a lot like the Montrail Continental Divide, but does have a hard plastic plate under the forefoot. I have regular width but high volume feet and both seem to fit well, though the Innov-8 is definitely narrower.
Any folks out there who have used either of these shoes and have comments?
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